As a Director for Visit The Woodlands, Richard helps guide the organization to help ensure long-term success.
Richard Franks most recently served as CEO of M. Roberts Media and was responsible for four daily newspapers, and affiliated specialty publication and a large commercial printing operation headquartered in Longview, Texas. Franks reorganized the company, including centralizing and modernizing many operations, and acquired a neighboring daily and weekly newspaper which would allow the company not only to survive but thrive.
Formerly, he was a member of the Board of Directors of Open Sky Media, and served as Open Sky's Chief Executive Officer from 2011-2013. There he grew the company to include city and regional magazine titles from California, Texas, Oklahoma, and Florida. Under Franks' direction, the targeted media group focused on the acquisition of leading edge, high demographic markets, notably in Austin (Texas), Marin County (California) and the Gulf Coast (Naples, Florida). In 2015, Mr. Franks was recognized as "Innovator of the Year" for his vision and leadership in the industry.
In 2007, Franks was recruited by General Electric Capital to serve on the board of American Community Newspapers, a company with 100 publications in four states. IN 2010, he was asked to assume the role of President and CEO to prepare the company for sale. The process resulted in the successful sale in February 2012.
In 2001-2007, Franks served in several positions with the Eagle Tribune Publishing Company. Recruited as the first non-family member to serve as Executive Vice-President and COO. He was later appointed President and CEO, and was responsible for the acquisition of several adjoining properties in Newburyport, Salem and Gloucester, MA. After a successful reorganization and consolidation program, he oversaw a successful sale of the company for two times its initial value net of debt.
From 2001 to 2001, Franks was recruited and served as President of a major commercial printing company responsible for printing of major grocery stores pre-print sales products.
Franks served from 1995 to 1997 as Senior Vice- President of BancOne Capital, managing a portfolio of newspaper companies in the Detroit area. These properties sold after two years for a 110% return to investors.
Later, with BancOne Capital, Franks and a partner, formed Westward Communications, serving as CEO of this company of eighty weekly and two daily newspapers in Texas, Arkansas, and Colorado with a circulation of 650,000 and 450 employees. Texas properties surrounded the Houston suburbs, including Conroe, The Woodlands, Kingwood, Humble, and Pasadena among others. The Pasadena site also served as a printing site for USA Today.
From 1978 to 1995, Mr. Franks career with The Dispatch Printing Company in Columbus, Ohio, included four years as Executive Vice-President and General Manager of The Columbus Dispatch, daily newspaper of the state capital. He also served as President of a wholly owned community newspaper group, created to serve 23 suburban communities surrounding Columbus as well as a commercial printing operation, and a total market advertising product operating state-wide.
Franks graduated from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign with a BA in Political Science in 1969 and a MA with honors, in Public Administration in 1973. Her served on active duty in the US Army from 1969 to 1971, and was awarded the Bronze Star, and two Army Commendations medals for service as First Lieutenant in Viet Nam. He then served in the US Army Reserve from 1972 to 1976. Mr. Franks was appointed the first Chief Administrative Officer for the City of Urbana in 1974. He managed all operations of the city, including all labor negotiations, intergovernmental relations, economic development, and management of the federal neighborhood development program and the recruitment and hiring of all department heads.